Friday, September 9, 2011


This week I was reminded of the whole reason we started Worldly Wednesday. I want to branch out from the mundane dinners we have gotten used to--chicken quesadillas, pork chops, fish sticks--you know the drill. I want to introduce my kids to new foods. So, I decided to challenge myself to make a new dish from a particular country each Wednesday, and to try and throw in some facts about that country as well. Another big part of Worldly Wednesday is exposing my kids to geography. I have always felt embarrassed of my knowledge of geography, and I want my kids to have a good grasp on the subject. So here we go.

Last week we studied Ghana. Ghana is the name of Carson's soccer team this year. Their colors are "highlighter yellow," and black, and according to his coach the plus side is we will never lose his uniform and socks.

This week we made a dish called Jollof Rice, that reminded me a lot of gumbo. Justin loved it and I knew he would, since he typically likes "one dish dinners." Jollof Rice, and many other starchy dishes, are staples in Ghana. I liked this recipe because it allowed me to use some leftover veggies I had in the fridge. It is the kind of dish you can just throw any veggie of your choice into and it will taste good (Stacie Destin, this is your kind of meal too :)! I cheated a bit because it called for uncooked rice and I used Steamfresh with corn and veggies already mixed in. Anyway, it was very good, and we had lots of leftovers. Yum!

For dessert, we had plantains. Harris Teeter sells "microwave plantains," and all you have to do is follow the directions on the sticker to cook them! We sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar. The boys weren't too excited about them...and neither was I. Justin liked them. I think I'll try them again on top of vanilla ice cream. :)

Then we watched a short video about Ghana. We learned some interesting things, like the fact that public schooling is a fairly new concept, and the children do a lot of cleaning as well as learning in their schools. Carson was surprised to learn that in some of the poorer schools, the children own their desks and have to take them home over the holidays so they will not be stolen. Here are some other interesting facts about Ghana:

*music and dance is an important part of their culture
*the literacy rate has gone from 25%-60% in the past 40 years; compare that rate to 97% here in the US
*many children walk or bike 3 miles to school every day
*the children are responsible for sweeping their classrooms and arranging their tables and stools before the school day starts
*the children in Ghana are taught in English
*most kids cannot afford lunch, but the ones who can eat rice and spices at school
*there are many different ages in each classroom because school is still relatively new and there are so many learning levels
*the children love to play and enjoy a game called "Crooked and Straight"
*student wear uniforms to school so they all look the same even though many are poorer than others

Carson was also intrigued by the animals of Ghana, like the lizard who was doing pushups to keep himself off the hot sand. The Discovery Education website really did an excellent job teaching us about the people and animals of Ghana! Thank goodness I am married to one of the masterminds of Discovery Education and can view their wonderful teaching materials anytime I want! :)

I suggested to Jonah that at the end of our unit, it would be fun for him to create a "Worldly Menu" with meals from all the places we have studied. He got excited and decided to start right away. That kid is so much like me, it kills me. He made the "sign" for the restaurant and posted it on our easel. He calls it the "Rode Globe" restaurant, but he really means "Road." He listed all the places we've visited and will add to it as we go. I think I will end up helping him a lot with the menu part. I need to gather some menus from local restaurants as references.

Jonah liked the Jollof Rice and so did Sir Carson. I think this is a dish I will definitely make again!

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